Applying for Master’s: Uppsala vs. Lund


Written by Annamaria

17 Jan 2024

Two amazing universities of great historical value and in strategic locations close to two big European cities (Stockholm and Copenhagen). Lund and Uppsala University are two of the most popular Swedish universities. Their ranking is almost equal, they are both renowned and their students love them, so how do you choose where to go?
For this purpose, I interviewed two students who may help you make this big decision.

Choose the right programme

Artur (Uppsala): I am originally from Brazil and now I am doing my Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies at Uppsala University. The Peace and Conflict Research Department here at Uppsala University is one of the oldest and largest in the world, so that’s why I came here. The University also offers great programmes in the Natural Sciences, Engineering, Law, Political Sciences, and Humanities. I’ve heard good things about all of the programmes here and there is a wide range to pick from. Learn more about the programmes offered by Uppsala University.

Selfie of a smiling person with picturesque green hills in the distance.
Photo: Artur

Xiaoyan (Lund): I come from China and I am taking a Master’s programme in Environment Studies and Sustainability Science. But there are lots of programmes available at Lund University. If you are interested, you can go to this website to search for more information on the programmes offered by Lund University.

A woman with a warm smile stands beneath the shade of a tree.
Photo: Annamaria

Step #1
Find a programme you like and feel connected to.

What is the location like?

Artur (Uppsala): I think Uppsala is the perfect student town! It’s big enough that you can always find something to do but also small enough to go almost everywhere by bike and always feel safe. The Student Nations make student life in Uppsala fun and affordable at the same time, with their cafes, pubs, restaurants, and clubs. But most importantly, I think living and studying in Uppsala is a lot about tradition. Being the oldest university in Sweden, life in Uppsala is very much centered around ancient traditions. The capital city Stockholm is also located just within a 30-minute train ride.

Two students are cycling side by side on a path through a sunlit park on campus, while another walks beside them carrying a bag. A grand historical building can also be seen in the background.
Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/

Xiaoyan (Lund): Lund is a much smaller but very cosy student town with about 90 000 residents, among those, almost half are students. Growing up in a big city like Shanghai with a population of 26 million, I now really enjoy the peacefulness and the less consumeristic vibe here in Lund. This small town also has a great location since it’s right next to two big cities, Malmö and Copenhagen.

Students and visitors socialize in the sunny courtyard of Lund University, surrounded by blooming cherry trees and flowerbeds, with the grand, neoclassical facade of the main university building in the background.
Photo: Folio/

Step #2
Do you prefer to live in a smaller town where you have everything you need within walking distance and where life is a bit calmer or would you like a larger livelier city with more options to choose where to eat, shop, or what to do?

How’s the campus?

Artur (Uppsala): The Uppsala University is very spread out around the city. Some programmes have a specific campus, and others have classes all over the city, so it varies a lot. I have my classes mostly in the same building right in the heart of the city centre. When the weather allows, I cycle to class and it takes me about 15 minutes. During the winter, I take the bus. It takes more or less the same time and despite being more expensive, it’s necessary for a few months while it’s icy and snowy outside. A period ticket (30 days) for public transport in Uppsala costs SEK 640 for a student.

Uppsala Cathedral during winter with snow covered trees in the foreground.
Photo: Artur

Xiaoyan (Lund): I love the fact that the Lund University campus is merged with the city. Both academic buildings and residential areas are spread around Lund within walking or biking distance. It is a perfect town for studying and the student life is vibrant. Things and events are so reachable that you can get anywhere in just 15 minutes on foot or by bike. You don’t need to take public transport to get from one point to another. Because of this, my classmates and I hang out a lot together to study and have fun, so we have a strong bond.

The Lund University library building stands against a clear blue sky, its red-brick Gothic architecture contrasted by the surrounding white snow-covered ground.
Lund University Library. Photo: Xiaoyan

Step #3
Are you okay with being dependent on public transport for a couple of months a year or would you rather avoid it completely?

Is it hard to find accommodation?

A modern building is the focal point of this image, its sleek facade contrasting with the park beside it.
Photo: Felix Gerlach/

Artur (Uppsala): I currently live in a corridor room which I got through the University’s Housing Office. I have my own room and bathroom and I share a kitchen with 11 other rooms. It costs me around SEK 4680 a month. It is a bit further away from the city centre. In a few months, I’ll move in with some friends to a new shared apartment. There, I will have a bedroom and share 2 bathrooms and a kitchen with 2 other friends. I’ll pay more or less the same price but it’s a nicer flat and closer to the city centre. I didn’t have to join the housing queue (students usually do) because one of my friends is renting the room in that flat, so I will only be taking the room of his flatmate who is leaving after this semester.

Xiaoyan (Lund): I’m lucky to live in an international student corridor next to the train station which is a 10-minute walk away from my department. It costs about SEK 3800 per month. There are 11 international students on each floor, we share four bathrooms, two kitchens, and one big living room. All the tuition-paying students are guaranteed to have a place to stay, so I didn’t have to join a housing queue. But I know renting a place is a big challenge for all my EU classmates, so it is better to look for it earlier if you want to come here to study. Check out the housing agencies that offer accommodation for students in Lund.

Step #3
Learn your options for accommodation. Housing in Uppsala might be a bit more expensive depending on the place you manage to find but at the same time, it’s a bigger city so there are more options. On the other hand, some Lund students end up living in Malmö and need to commute to Lund since there are not so many spaces available (luckily it’s like 20 minutes by train).

Describe the student life 🥳

Artur (Uppsala): I’ve never heard of a city with such an active student life as Uppsala before. There is always something to do. Because of the Student Nations, you can always find a place to have lunch or a fika, a pub to go to in the evening, or there are clubs on most nights. In addition to that, the Nations also organise sports-related activities, boardgame nights, karaoke nights, quizzes, and clubs for almost everything you can imagine, from knitting to Quidditch, I’ve heard. Because of that, I’d say it’s very easy to make friends in Uppsala, especially if you are an international student. You’ll always find a fellow international or an outgoing Swede (they are not as rare as you’d expect) willing to make friends.

Students are seated along a wooden dock by a river on a sunny day, all enjoying a leisurely moment amidst the serene backdrop of a city park.
Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/

Xiaoyan (Lund): For me, it is very nice. I am in a program with 42 students and most of us are from abroad. Most of us have similar values since we all chose to study environment and sustainability. We try to do things together and take care of each other. Besides the program, there are also lots of things going on in the city. For example, student nations, student organizations focusing on different interests, museums, and municipality events… You never have to worry about running out of activities to join (if you want). If nothing to do in Lund, you can easily hop on a train to Malmö or Copenhagen within 15 to 40 minutes.

Two friends cheerfully pose on a cobblestone street in a quaint neighborhood lined with colorful buildings.
Photo: Annamaria

To conclude…

I’ve been lucky enough to visit both of these cities and after meeting students there and also after these interviews, I can almost guarantee you’re going to fall in love with them. Both of the cities have their own charm and lively student communities. When you find the programme you like, make sure to consider your options for accommodation in the city. Other than that, you are choosing between two wonderful student cities, one smaller and cosier, and the other slightly bigger with a bit more to explore. Make sure you pick the one that you’re attracted to the most and know wherever you’ll end up is probably the right place to be.


Written by Annamaria

17 Jan 2024